September 6, 2023 | Financial Times

Digital currencies and cashless societies, the new target of conspiracy theories

At a campaign rally in April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced he would be banning the concept of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in his state. DeSantis’s outspoken weariness of digital currencies is just the latest example of another topic that’s been grouped into a conspiratorial, global ‘culture war’. Just as with the concept of 15-minute cities, or the ‘Great Reset‘, now it’s CBDC’s that are allegedly being designed by global elites who want to ‘strip’ the public of their money, while also monitoring and controlling them.

ISD’s Aoife Gallagher and Julia Ebner spoke to the Financial Times about how digital currencies and cashless societies are discussed within conspiratorial communities, commenting on a series of financial scandals this year that have amplified distrust towards digital currencies.

“Events like the Coutts saga [in which the private bank closed former Brexit party leader Nigel Farage’s bank accounts] and the Silicon Valley Bank collapse serve as further justification within these communities,” Aoife said.

They explained to FT how the talking points related to the ‘Great Reset’ that are similarly used to target topics such as vaccines or climate policy are now being used against digital currencies.  While CBDC’s may not yet attract the level of threats and violence as others affected by the same conspiracies, they are increasingly becoming part of the mainstream political landscape.